Arson suspect arrested, charged in Kalamazoo Planned Parenthood fire

The suspect posted a video to his YouTube channel discussing referring to abortion as ‘genocide,’
Planned Parenthood arson suspect arrested
Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 5:37 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Department of Justice has charged a man with arson in the case of a fire that damaged a Michigan Planned Parenthood.

U.S. Attorney Mark Totten announced that his office filed a criminal complaint Thursday charging Joshua Brereton, 25, with setting fire to the Planned Parenthood building in Kalamazoo. Brereton, age 25, is a resident of Paw Paw, a community only 20 miles from Kalamazoo.

Background: Police seek arson suspect in Kalamazoo Planned Parenthood fire

On July 31 emergency crews were called to a fire in progress at the Planned Parenthood in Kalamazoo. Police investigated, and in review of video surveillance saw that a man breach the fence surrounding the building, use a combustible fuel to ignite the exterior bushes of the building, light a fireplace starter log and then throw the burning log onto the roof of the building, ultimately starting two separate fires.

After the fires started, authorities said the man - now identified as Brereton - fled the scene.

“Brereton posted a video to his YouTube channel discussing abortion and abortion policy and referring to abortion as ‘genocide,’” Totten wrote in a release. “In the video, Brereton also encouraged others to ‘step out of your comfort zone’ and ‘lend a hand in the fight.’”

If convicted of the arson charge, Brereton faces up to 20 years in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.

Only 24 days before the burning of the Planned Parenthood in Kalamazoo, the Department of Homeland Security warned that the United States is in a ‘heightened threat environment’ due to extremist ideology.

“In the coming months, we expect the threat environment to become more dynamic as several high-profile events could be exploited to justify acts of violence against a range of possible targets,” DHS officials wrote. “Threat actors have recently mobilized to violence due to factors such as personal grievances, reactions to current events, and adherence to violent extremist ideologies, including racially or ethnically motivated or anti-government/anti-authority violent extremism.”

They warned targets could include public gatherings, faith-based institutions, schools, racial and religious minorities, government facilities and personnel, U.S. critical infrastructure, the media and perceived ideological opponents.

Brereton’s arrest followed a joint investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies. Those included the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS). The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Carowan.

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